From February 26 to March 4 Dr. Jana Mathews and Dr. Emily Russell took a group of ten Rollins students to the beautiful country of Peru for a spring break field study.
The field study and class, “Global Middle Ages,” gave these students a new perspective on Incan and Spanish culture and their influences, which are still felt today.
The bulk of the trip took place in Cusco, an appealing tourist city with beautiful sites. Here, women still dress in traditional Peruvian clothes made with alpaca wool and vibrant colors.
The city is filled with plazas, and it is home to some of the most incredible Spanish landmarks, including the famous Cusco Cathedral.
The students were then taken into the mountains to visit amazing sites such as Saqsaywaman and Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. In these locations the students not only learned specifically about Incan and Spanish culture, but were also able to see for themselves this culture’s rich history. The ruins, colonial art, and other fascinating works truly helped the participants grow as scholars.
Kate Stefanski ‘17 stated, “On the field study to Peru, I thought that I would learn most about the Incan culture and how it morphed with Spanish culture into the Peruvian culture, but really I learned more about myself. I learned that if I set my mind to something and decide I can do it, it’s true. In the same respect, if I decide I can’t do something, then I won’t be able to.”
In addition to discovering Peruvian culture and history, students got the chance to speak with local people and learn what life is like in a country different from their own.
“In a place where I thought I would be getting to know other people from other worlds, I learned so much about myself and the experience was totally life changing.
“No matter where you’re thinking about going, definitely go. And push yourself to try things that are outside your comfort zone. That’s the only way you’ll have experiences that you’ll remember forever,” said Stefanski.
With a wonderfully enthusiastic tour guide and passionate professors, there was never a dull day in Peru, and all the students became closer to each other and this magnificent place.
Katie Deisler ’18 stated, “The Peru field study 100% exceeded my expectations. One of the best parts was the new friends I made and how much closer I got to the friends I already had. I learned so much about myself and the importance of stepping outside of my comfort zone and trying new things!”
She added, “I have a whole new appreciation for the world and my place in it—all of my problems seem so insignificant when you’re surrounded by mountains. It’s definitely a trip I’ll remember forever!”